Mushroom Mania at Raccoon Grove

These natural wonders are a great way to celebrate the small details in the forest

The forest floor can be a hotbed of activity, and that's never been more true than during the fall at Raccoon Grove Nature Preserve in Monee Township.

A recent Mushroom Photography Hike brought out dozens of amateur photographers in search of the perfect shot, and Mother Nature delivered plenty of opportunities for those willing to get down and dirty.

"Sometimes I am laying completely flat on the forest floor to get a shot," said interpretive naturalist Suzy Lyttle. "They are perfect because they don't move, even on a windy day. You can spend a lot of time experimenting with angles and depth of field."

Translation: Mushrooms are perfect for amateur photographers with only a smartphone.

One of the joys for mushroom enthusiasts is that the scene is constantly changing, and a stretch of wet weather can cause a mushroom explosion. Follow the lead from the program participants and take it slow to be able to take it all in.

"Fungi is one of those details I think most people would pass on by when hiking in the woods," Lyttle said. "Fungi can look all so different. Even the same species can look so different depending how old it is. I think it is fascinating to capture all the different kinds, colors, shapes, textures.

"Even the mushroomy smells are fantastic."

On this particular day, at least 15 different species were found and the slugs also were out, busy munching away. 

Here's a look at some of the gems that can be found not only at Raccoon Grove, but throughout Will County. For more mushroom photos, check out our Flickr Gallery from the program or follow us on Instagram.

Puffballs (Photo courtesy of Jessica Bensema)



Polypores (Photo by Suzy Lyttle)

Left: Russula mushroom (Photo courtesy of Trisha Wilbanks); Center: Mycena mushroom (Photo courtesy of Jenifer Scott); Right: Jelly fungus (Photo courtesy of Jenifer Scott)

Gilled mushroom (Photo courtesy of Gregory Hejnar)

Mycena (Photo courtesy of Trisha Wilbanks)

Artist's conk (Photo courtesy of Trisha Wilbanks)


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